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{ in·deed·a·bly }

adverb: to competently express interest, surprise, disbelief, or contempt

Mistaken

What have you been wrong about?

Not little stuff, like who is going to win a football competition or an election. Big things?

My elder son had received his exam results from the recent COVID disrupted examination season. They were what my father might have described as “character building”.

The exams had been scheduled, then postponed, as COVID ran through the school faster than one of my culinary “Dadsasters”.

First one class. Then a second. Within days, nearly 500 students and teachers had been banished to self-isolate at home for a fortnight.

Informed in writing that their exams were rescheduled after the Christmas holidays.

Ambushed upon their return in early December, with a full set of exams and no warning.

The results were underwhelming. Year group average marks below 50% in almost all subjects.

My son had felt he was across the subject matter. Believed he had done okay in the exams.

He was mistaken.

The experience had shaken his confidence.

Further undermined any belief that the school had his best interests at heart. Like the way they outlawed wearing masks or opening windows in non-socially distanced classrooms. Yet insisted masks be worn in corridors and stairwells, and lunch be eaten outside in the rain.

My son had made a risk-based judgement.

Bet that by cramming for his exams he could achieve an acceptable set of grades.

Staying on top of his classwork would have been the safer choice. Mitigating the risk posed by an impromptu exam.

His bet did not pay off. Derailed by an externality. A cascade of risks he had not foreseen.

A brutal lesson that can only be learned the hard way. Hopefully, a lesson learned the first time.

I thought about my son’s question. What big things had I been wrong about?

What might constitute a “big thing”? Career? Homeownership? Living location? Marriage? Migration? Parenthood? Running a business? None are things I regret, but I would be lying if I said there hadn’t been moments when I found myself questioning my choices about every single one of them.

There were many things I had been wrong about over the years. Accountability. All-inclusive vacations. Big 4 firms. Bitcoin. Common sense. Competence. Financial services industry regulation. London property prices. Loneliness. Meritocracy. Social media. Taxation.

To keep the conversation relevant, I told him about my choice of secondary school long ago.

As an unconfident eleven-year-old, I had prioritised the familiar over educational quality, opting to attend the local state school near my parent’s house. Years later, when our university entrance exam marks were issued, my choice of school carried with it a double-digit standardised mark penalty.

Not an issue for those who had majored in the school’s vocational specialities of dealing drugs, stealing cars, and teenage pregnancy.

However, for those few academically minded students, that penalty meant gaining admission to fields of study such as medicine, law, engineering, or actuarial science was an impossible dream.

My choice of school had been a mistake, but my reasons for selecting it was a much larger one.

By the time I finished university, I had kept in touch with only a couple of former school friends. None of whom were the people I had been so afraid of leaving behind a decade earlier.

The others hadn’t cared about me. Nor I, them. Not really.

We had simply been acquaintances of convenience. No different from the colleagues I would regularly socialise with after work during a client project, then never spare a second thought about once I moved on to the next job.

Making life decisions based upon a desire to run with the herd, or gain the approval of others, had been foolish. Something “big” that I had been wrong about.

Blind spots

A couple of days later, I read two different blog posts where the authors freely conceded they lacked any credible form of “alpha” needed to outperform the market.

Inside knowledge.

The ability to move markets.

Proprietary technology that gave them a proven edge, either in execution or opportunity identification.

Yet both persisted, unsuccessfully, with attempting to pick winners and time the market. I couldn’t help but admire their conviction, faith, and perseverance.

Their results were mixed.

One slightly underperformed their chosen benchmark. Much time invested for little financial reward, but they had fun along the way.

The other continuously tinkered with their portfolio, until they panicked and exited the market entirely. Watching helplessly as the NASDAQ surged 33% upwards and the S&P500 grew 23%, while their vast pile of cash languished on the sidelines, generating little more than platform fees and regret. Only history can tell whether they were wrong or just early, but either way the pain they felt today was real.

Each of the authors had a blind spot.

Something they were wrong about.

Something they danced around. Justified. Rationalised away.

Yet the blind spot remained. Behaviours inconsistent with stated outcomes.

I thought about my own financial blind spots. Some were obvious and familiar, like old friends.

My living location with its eye-watering rent bill? Check.

My dysfunctional financial relationship with my lady wife? Indubitably.

My reluctance to trade tax efficiency for the psychological comforts of an engineered regular pay cheque constructed from passive income? Indeed.

Those were all weaknesses it was true. Behaviours inconsistent with my stated goal of leading a financially independent lifestyle reliably funded by my investment portfolio’s free cash flows.

Weaknesses I was conscious of.

Weaknesses I factored into my thinking.

Weaknesses I managed. Mitigated. Worked around.

That got me wondering about the financial blind spots I was unconscious of. We all have them.

What “big thing(s)” was I wrong about?

Capital gains

Unlike the rigorous discipline and well-formed habits proclaimed by many personal finance bloggers, my investing approach could be kindly described as sporadic and haphazard.

Every now and again I will muster some enthusiasm and research an opportunity. If the numbers appear to stack up, I will buy it. A property. Some shares. Very occasionally, a business.

I establish processes to manage and monitor the investment, before quickly losing interest and returning to doing battle with the troublesome cats, playing with my kids, or writing random blog posts.

These bursts of enthusiasm are fleeting. Rarely occurring more than once or twice a year.

This approach has resulted in me being a “buy and hold” investor by default rather than by design.

Apathy preserving the status quo. Change requires decision making and effort!

My timescales are long term.

Transaction costs are kept minimal.

I pay just enough attention to ensure I am not being ripped off, and to avoid falling victim to the ever-changing whims of the vampiric tax authorities who are forever trying to pick my pocket.

For the most part however, my investments operate in “set and forget” mode.

This approach has worked out pretty well over the years. Each additional investment boosting the capacity of my perpetual money-making machine to generate free cash flows.

However, it has also left me with a slightly skewed perspective. A blind spot. I might be competent at identifying buying opportunities, but my skills for working out when to sell are underdeveloped.

I evaluate stocks and funds based upon their total returns. Yet I consume only their dividend income.

Property investments are selected based on their prospects for achieving significant capital growth. But I consume only the net rental income, after accounting for financing and operating costs.

Capital gains often form the lion’s share of an investment’s long term returns. Yet the notion of selling off an income-producing asset leaves me feeling colder than a mother-in-law’s kiss.

The big financial thing I have been wrong about? Capital gains.

Mistaken

Once I realised this, I couldn’t help but laugh at how blind I had been. It isn’t as though capital gains were some arcane secret, or a financial topic exclusively reserved for rich or sophisticated investors!

Governments influence our investment decisions and asset allocations more than we care to admit.

Weaving a complex web of incentives, social policy, subsidies, and taxes to constantly manipulate our behaviours, like a puppet master controlling a fairground marionette.

Realising capital gains is a behaviour that governments strongly seek to encourage.

In Australia, capital gains on assets owned for more than a year are taxed at half the rate of income.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom taxes capital gains at the same rate as minimum wage earners, with entrepreneurs paying even less. Residential property investment gains are subject to a 8% surcharge, which stings a bit, until investors realise their gains are taxed at a lower rate than most white-collar professional salaries.

Embracing capital gains is even further incentivised when an investor utilises tax-advantaged accounts, allowing tax that may otherwise fall due to be postponed or eliminated entirely.

It isn’t just governments who have encouraged the realisation of capital gains. Those FIRE seekers who evangelise about applying various “safe” withdrawal rates to fund their financial independence rely heavily upon them. Any gap between an investment portfolio’s natural yield and the investor’s preferred withdrawal rate is met via selling down assets and (hopefully) realising capital gains.

I won’t pretend that capital growth is a blinding revelation, nor that I have never realised a capital gain when selling an investment for a higher price than I paid for it. However, my general approach has been to sell by exception, and then only when there is a compelling reason to do so.

Changing demographics. Emerging structural issues. Losing competitive advantage. Management incompetence. Takeovers. Tax regimes. Technical obsolescence. The list of triggers has been brief, yet varied.

Despite the huge differences in taxation treatment of income and capital gains, the idea of parting with an income producing asset pains me.

Which, when viewed objectively, is irrational. A big mistake.

Opportunity cost analysis may identify a more optimal asset to invest the funds in.

Externalities might change the investing landscape, requiring to a revised approach.

Stage of life should also play a part.

Statistically speaking, I am probably closer to the finishing line of life’s journey than the beginning. Our wealth accumulation phase (i.e. earn, save, and invest) is designed to build up our net worth to comfortably support our lifestyles for the remainder of our lifes. Once we’ve passed that notional peak, it makes sense to have done the thinking about our deaccumulation phase (i.e. sell, spend, and enjoy).

Failure to do so might lead to some big mistakes. Holding investments long past their prime. Being overly frugal. Missing opportunities. Wasting time. Working longer and harder than is necessary.

Failing to include realising capital gains into my thinking has been an investing blind spot.

Something big that I have been wrong about.

That doesn’t mean I will change my approach of buying and holding assets forever, then living off their natural yield. But I should at least consider the alternatives. The results may be a pleasant surprise. If not, then at least I will be making better informed investing decisions.

What big things have you been wrong about?


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29 Comments

  1. Bob 27 January 2021

    “I establish processes to manage and monitor the investment, before quickly losing interest”

    Been there. In fact if a company has a brightly coloured logo that could have been me.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 27 January 2021 — Post author

      Thanks Bob, glad to know I’m not the only one.

      Dealing with property managers is a pain in the backside, but at least the good ones triage the tenant issues. Dealing with tenants is an even bigger pain the backside!

  2. FIRE v London 28 January 2021

    Letting kids choose their schools wasn’t a thing in my day/household. Thank goodness.

    Exactly as you put it, I wanted to put the familiar, plus the lack of a posh school uniform, ahead of other considerations. However my vote carried a very low weight indeed and I was sent instead to the ‘good’ school on the other side of town. That proved to be a fantastic life choice for me, by my parents, who could barely afford the fees and sacrificed a lot. My 10 year old sense had no clue.

    These days, all the 10 year olds I know get significant input in, if not complete choice over, the school they go to. I am not convinced they have much more of a clue than my 10 year old self.

    How times change.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 28 January 2021 — Post author

      Thanks FvL.

      I was presented with two choices:

      A private school across town, which my parents couldn’t afford, where most of the bullies from the surrounding suburbs were sent to be “straightened out” via a lot of discipline, homework, blazer and tie wearing, and pressure.

      Or the school I attended. Free. Close by, meaning I could continue looking after my younger brother after school. No uniform. Free from bullies* (as sold at the time of choosing).

      Naturally, I chose the latter.

      Predictably, many of the bullies were soon expelled from the private school, and ended up back at my high school anyway! Such is life.

      In hindsight, the way my father presented the options made my choice a foregone conclusion, but ultimately the decision was mine. I’m not sure what would have happened if I had have insisted on the private school, school fees plus after school care for my younger sibling would have presented a significant financial challenge to my parents at that time.

      I must admit to a wry smile when I sat my elder son down for a similar discussion when we were looking at his high school options. Good private schools with an annual price tag higher than the median household disposable income, or an excellent free state school?

  3. Malcolm 29 January 2021

    Both wife and I went to “good” private Scottish schools-got our professional qualifications
    Had 3 children but now in a remote Scottish area where everybody went to the local comp-unusual situation?
    Had no choice-boarding school not an option re expense
    They got the same professional qualifications as their parents but much more rounded people-comps do that to you
    They all have kids now -interesting watching their choices
    All things being equal-which they are not!-the quality of parenting seems to me the most critical factor
    But what do I know!
    xxd09

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 29 January 2021 — Post author

      Thanks xxd09, it is certainly interesting watching how things play out.

      For mine, the most critical factor is the individual themselves. Some folks are going to succeed from wherever they start in life. Many more will never succeed, no matter how many opportunities they receive. There is an intangible character element to it, something innate that cannot be taught.

      Environment also plays a huge part at setting where our goal posts are. Humble surrounds and modest beginnings will often lead to unambitious goals. Part of this is simply not knowing what is possible, part is the peer pressure element of not believing such things are achievable by “people like us“.

      The inverse of this is a lifelong inferiority complex, where doing “well” by most people’s standards can’t compete with the ghost of super successful parents/peers.

      I agree parenting plays a big part, as that largely provides our moral compass and defines an unconscious baseline of what is “normal“. Both evolve as we age, but there is a big advantage held by those who start adult life with their heads screwed on straight.

      You make an excellent point about the well rounded aspects of a state school education. This is probably the most beneficial thing I learned at my school. Learning how to discern motivations, behaviours, and psychology.

      • M 2 February 2021

        “People like us” really struck a cord with me. My brother (3 years older than me) was told not to do a levels because “kids from this school don’t do a levels”. None of the schools had 6 forms where I came from (poor NW England). Luckily one teacher said he should go to college and have a go. He’s very bright and got to a good university filled with private school kids which opened his eyes to what could be achieved. He’s now a CFO. He also sends his kids to private school as he doesn’t want them to experience the absolute lack of ambition that he experienced, although I can’t believe that attitude still exists anywhere in the country. As I was younger, I just followed his example, I don’t think I would have achieved what I did otherwise.

        I do wonder what example I am setting the kids working from home in these times. My daughter recently described my job as “drinking coffee, eating biscuits and staring out of the window”.

        • {in·deed·a·bly} 2 February 2021 — Post author

          Thanks M. It is amazing how life changing having just one great teacher can be for a student (and their future family!). Great to hear things worked out well for you and your brother.

          although I can’t believe that attitude still exists anywhere in the country

          It does. One of the high schools we inspected when choosing where my elder son would go admitted they hadn’t had a single student receive a university admission offer in the last four years. Consequently they focussed on other things, making that outcome self-fulfilling for any students who enrolled there. Unsurprisingly, it had vacancies, while most of the schools with a better track record were heavily oversubscribed (12 applicants for every place in one case).

          This wasn’t in “poor NW England“, nor was it decades ago. It was central London, in a neighbourhood where the average house prices more closely resemble a lottery win than the median household disposable income. Most of the nearby families sent their kids to private schools, so few people cared about the fate of poorer students trapped in a failing school.

          • M 2 February 2021

            Thanks for the reply in.deed.bly

            It’s really is amazing the impact a fleeting conversation with the right person can have. It makes me sad to think of those schools with such a limiting and self fulfilling attitude towards their students, particularly in London where so many career opportunities exist.

            I realised that I rudely didn’t answer the question posed by you post. My biggest mistake was not buying a house (or flat when I first moved South). In the part of the North that I came from houses were 15k in 2000. I moved to a part of the country where flats were 100-110k. I spent 8 years reading property bearish bulletin boards on Motley Fool and believing that houses were due a crash. All that time those flats were appreciating and are now probably worth 350-400k. My financial position would be vastly different now if I had just bought.

  4. Malcolm 29 January 2021

    It was an interesting “experiment “ to contrast and compare my children’s outcomes-private versus public
    The only big variable in their education was their parents(genes) as the school,the teachers environment etc were all the same for everybody
    I was chairman of the school board for a while and deployed this powerful/devastating fact only once to a aggressive middle class parent(man)
    I can still remember the wife standing behind him out of his line of sight silently clapping!
    Of course the parent could also claim the credit if their child did well!
    xxd09

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 29 January 2021 — Post author

      Well played sir! You could have sold tickets for that takedown. I bet the guy deflated.

    • The Accumulator 30 January 2021

      Hi both, have you come across Blueprint by Robert Plomin? It’s about how our outcomes are shaped by our genes vs environment. Essentially, a hot take on the nature vs nuture debate by a prof of behavioural genetics. He argues (among other things) that private education makes a negligible difference once you control for other factors. You might find the book interesting. He thinks the influence of parents is overstated too! In respect of life outcomes, not on their ability to make their children feel happy and loved. I think his conclusions tally with your ‘character’ idea, Indeedably.

      • {in·deed·a·bly} 30 January 2021 — Post author

        Thanks TA, will check it out.

        For mine, the main advantages a private school may offer is the network, access to extracurricular activities, and (in the case of decent private schools) a greater chance of a university place.

        As with universities, the network/branding effect of attending an also-ran private school is limited, making the cost v benefit argument marginal at best. The alumni network from a trophy school like Eton/Harrow/St Pauls will more likely open doors to internships, graduate placements, and non-executive directorships far more easily than a local state school.

        Whether that makes it worth the price of admission is debatable, depending largely on the aspirations and aptitude of the individual student. That said, dummies from good private schools seem to muddle through life on higher pay packets than their state school peers do. The London insurance market provides a fascinating case study of this in action.

        • The Accumulator 30 January 2021

          It saddens me that the UK is like this. Is there an equivalent in Australia or is it genuinely more egalitarian?

          Perhaps an interesting topic for debate: whenever I see the topic of prestige institutions arise among the UK PI community, the verdict inevitably, and understandably, is: ‘networking opportunities win.’

          But I wonder if there’s a happiness trade off? Or if not, maybe it makes no difference whatsoever to happiness.

          I have no firm opinion but would be interested in your thoughts.

          This long-term Harvard study of happiness comes to a mind as a datapoint.

          • {in·deed·a·bly} 30 January 2021 — Post author

            I think this is another case of opportunities are what you make them.

            There will be happy and unhappy kids at both private and state schools. Some will succeed, most will muddle along in mediocrity, and some will fail. Plot it over a large enough population and you would likely end up with a roughly standard Bell curve. Whether digging into the numbers reveals that there are more failures at the shallow end of the socio-economic spectrum I would be interested to know, as the margin for error is smaller and the poverty trap is real.

            Personally, I think the value of the networking opportunities are often overstated and misunderstood.

            Networks don’t guarantee success, or a job, or a political appointment. However, they will help a person make the shortlist for an interview, over those possessing equivalent skills and experience who don’t have the same juice. A good example here is internships/graduate placements, where candidates are a commodity whose only tangible marketable skills are enthusiasm, ambition, and possibly connections. These opportunities tend to go to the connected “nieces and nephews“, because that is what networks are for.

            whenever I see the topic of prestige institutions arise among the UK PI community, the verdict inevitably, and understandably, is: ‘networking opportunities win.’

            We need to be careful of sampling and observer bias when evaluating the arguments from the UK PF community. They are a self-selecting group. Generally white, mostly from comfortable though perhaps humble backgrounds, with a disproportionate number of migrants included in the mix. Consequently, most of us are outsiders looking in to a perceived world of connections and the old school tie. That brings with it a lot of preconceived ideas, many of which may prove baseless when scrutinised.

            Is there an equivalent in Australia or is it genuinely more egalitarian?

            As for Australia, there are a few “old school tie” establishments, Geelong Grammar and Scots College for example, but their perceived benefits are much smaller. I’ve been away a long time though, so I’m probably not qualified to comment.

            That said, the value of networks appears to apply differently there. Anecdotally (treat with caution, small sample size, etc), I’ve worked with dozens of Australians over the years in London, who eventually returned home. Most of them struggled to land professional roles at anywhere near the equivalent level of what they had performed abroad, as overseas experience appeared to count for less than the locally gained equivalent, particularly once they had joined the ranks of middle management.

            After watering down their CVs, many (but not all) eventually landed a role. They then stayed with that first employer for years, decades in some cases, because with a much smaller job market there just wasn’t anywhere else to go.

            Consequently, the good people in an industry mostly know each other, and everyone ends up waiting for somebody higher up the food chain to die or retire before they can shuffle one rung up the corporate ladder.

            Obviously experiences vary based on location, industry, skillset, and market conditions at the time, but this was a fairly common tale.

            • The Accumulator 30 January 2021

              Fascinating insight as always Indeedably. As someone else once said, your replies are often proto-posts in themselves.

              “Some will succeed, most will muddle along in mediocrity, and some will fail.”

              I think this goes to the heart of it. What is success? It’s widely assumed that success = money and status. If you have those, happiness is pretty much assumed as a byproduct.

              But what if financial mediocrity correlated with greater happiness because you spent more time investing in family and friends than in work?

              I think there are cultures and communities around the world that believe this. In the UK we generally don’t. Or we’re split. Or we double-think it.

  5. greencat66 30 January 2021

    I tend to view my investing mistakes as the price I have to pay to learn. I learned the hard way to a) never invest in films and b) watch out for the old switcheroo.

    On films, past track record is definitely no indication of future success. I got around 1% of my investment back. Ouch!

    On the second of these, I thought I was investing so a company could convert their short term expensive loan for a capital build project to a long term cheaper one. Nope, it turns out they planned to use the cash to further expand and consequently bit off more than they could chew as well as gaining the attention of the regulators. It is now essentially a zombie company. Double ouch – although thankfully the gains in similar P2P loans have replaced the losses and contributed to building a greener world.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 30 January 2021 — Post author

      Thanks greencat66. That is a good way to look at mistakes. Tuition charges can be mighty high though!

      • Malcolm 30 January 2021

        Read Plomins book which is probably what made me reference genes
        Networking is not what it was in my day though university is still probably a must
        More of a meritocracy now than previously but it is some marginal help in getting one’s foot through the door
        Keeping your kids bright eyed and bushy tailed (a tough job in these tough times) is the most important thing
        That is what employers are looking for as the youngster comes through the door
        Genes/Parents and Environment-50/50?
        xxd09

  6. HariSeldon 30 January 2021

    I was mistaken when I thought my Grammar School in an affluent area was a good school, my parents moved to a pretty but poor area in the far SW and I found myself in a large ( 11 classes of 30 in my year group) , feral comprehensive school.

    I was in the last term of year 10 and found myself placed in a ‘non academic’ maths set, presented with a CSE mock exam and advised not to worry if I didn’t understand much of it, well I was actually numerate and finished it in 30 mins with 96%, I moved maths group the following day, then again and again, took an O level a month later was then bumped a year up and within a year was awarded a scholarship to Oxford to read mathematics…..

    The comprehensive school was willing to accept that others teachers reports on ability might be ‘mistaken’….

    Grammar school after 3 ½ years had me down in the one CSE pass category on a good day, never found out what I had done to offend them !

    The comp in their 3 ½ years got me 9 O levels and 5 A levels.( 4 in different maths fields) I was mistaken in thinking the maths was useful ! in 40 plus years since never used anything that I didn’t already know by the age of 16 despite working in an engineering environment.

    Most useful was the social skills negotiating life in a fairly rough school ( form alliances….) and then to a more genteel Oxford, were far more useful than anything you were actually taught..

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 30 January 2021 — Post author

      Thanks Hari. Sounds like you didn’t take no for an answer and really proved them wrong, well done!

      As for the utility of what we learn at school (and particularly university), I have to admit my experiences have been similar.

      There was a lot to be said for those hard won life experiences and survival skills, particularly if earned before the age of criminal responsibility attaches! After life at high school, the take-no-prisoners savagery of daily life at an investment bank seemed tame by comparison.

  7. dearieme 31 January 2021

    As a reasonably confident eleven-year-old, I had prioritised the familiar over the unknown, opting to attend the local state school near my parent’s house rather than go off to a boarding school. Years later, when our school certificate exam results were issued, my choice of school carried with it a warm sense of success. So did our rugby and cricket results. Lucky old me.

    I made a poor choice of job when I left university but it was a blessing in disguise because it led me to meet my wife.

    I am a great believer that a huge amount in life is a result of luck. I don’t believe the intellectually vacuous “you make your own luck”. Over the years your own luck makes you.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 31 January 2021 — Post author

      Thanks for sharing your story dearieme, it sounds like things worked out well in the end.

      We mightn’t make luck, but it certainly compounds over time. That chance meeting with your wife provides a good example.

  8. Q-FI 31 January 2021

    What I found really interesting in skimming through the comment string on this post, was all the discussion on schools. I found it pretty fascinating – not what I was expecting.

    Great topic – what have you been mistaken about. Three things jumped to my mind in life, work and investing.

    For life, thinking I could beat addiction was my biggest mistake overall. I lost that battle pretty epically and it hit all modes of life: mentally, physically and financially.

    For work, I related big time when you said meritocracy. I was naive coming out of college and believed if I worked harder than everyone else, I would naturally get promoted. After seeing other deadbeat employees get promoted instead of me, I learned pretty quickly about office politics and how you needed to play the game. Corporate life is definitely not fair.

    For investing, it took me a little time to come to the conclusion that simplification was my best strategy. For awhile I’d spend tons of time hedging different portfolios within my investments and making things so much more complicated than they needed to be. Finally I realized, that based on my lifestyle and living, all I needed were the market returns to be happy, why was I spending so much time thinking I needed to always beat it.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 1 February 2021 — Post author

      Thanks Q-FI, that is an impressive list of learning experiences. You should be proud of yourself of figuring a way through each of them.

      Debating the relative merits of public versus private schools is a national pastime in the United Kingdom. The costs of attending a top tier private school can rival those of paying full freight for an Ivy League four year degree! There is a perception that many of the country’s leading institutions are run by a cabal of Eton old boys, with newspaper reports last year observing that two thirds of Boris Johnson’s cabinet had gone to private schools.

  9. weenie 1 February 2021

    Gosh, where would I start?

    – The course I chose for university, which I did not enjoy?

    But I met such great and dear friends who shaped my adulthood!

    – My ex, who I was with for 15 years?

    But if not, I would not have had received the equity in the house we had.

    – My career?

    But I have enjoyed so much of it and made life long friends as a result.

    Maybe they were all wrong but each had an element of ‘right’ about them for me.

    • {in·deed·a·bly} 1 February 2021 — Post author

      Thanks weenie.

      You make a great point, that everything (good and bad) is a learning experience. Even those things that were big mistakes can yield tangible benefits in areas of our lives that we couldn’t have predicted.

What say you?

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